Oh the agonising joy of Facebook

OK, it happened. I said I’d do it and I did, I am after all a man of my word. I finally joined Facebook. I have resisted for a very long time now, but it was all in the name of research after all.

Things I expect to happen next:

Dan will spend approximately 3 hours a day checking his Wall for funny anecdotes etc from people who are his “friends”

Dan will spend approximately another 3 hours a day writing supposedly witty things on other people’s Walls in the hope that they might come back and write on mine and make me look popular.

Dan will lose his job when his employers find out that the expensive laptop they bought him has only been used to manage his Facebook account for the past two weeks.

Dan will start to refer to himself in the third person as that’s how he is used to writing his Status updates. Hmmmm.

On the plus side, I have really enjoyed catching up with people that I haven’t spoken to in ages. My career in media has taken me through a number of different roles and I’ve made a number of good friends, but I can be quite slack at keeping in touch, and Facebook really has helped me to rectify that.

On the other hand, there are some people who I would quite happily never speak to again, who I have felt obliged to accept as a “friend” just so I didn’t hurt their digital feelings.

My biggest gripe is that Facebook is seriously addictive. In my last post I mentioned that I’d noticed a marked similarity between facebook and smoking, although at that time I had only had direct experience of the latter, but now that I can talk from experience I can safely say that I was right. If anything, compared to smoking, Facebook is more addictive and more detrimental to your mental health.

Just like cigarettes, you visit facebook even if you don’t really want to, just out of habit.

Just like cigarettes, you can make surprsing new friends when you visit facebook.

Just like cigarettes, it gives you instant social currency with people you would otherwise have nothing in common with.

Just like cigarettes, it makes you smell and turns your teeth yellow. OK, that last one is only true if you spend a bit too long on Facebook, but you get the point.

OK, if you’ve joined the realms of “the book” (as it was coolly described to me today” then you’ll probably know all this already. What I need to do is get to grips with “why?”. What is it about Facebook that has made it such a success where previous iterations of this concept (Friendster etc) failed to hit the mainstream in such dramatic fashion?

I’ve got some ideas, but I think I need to investigate more, so I’ll leave that for my next posting.

Till then have fun.


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